Tag Archives: President Bush

Literacy Advance of Houston

When my wife was three, she heard her older siblings lamenting how awful it would be not to be able to read.  She chimed in, “Oh, it’s not so bad.”  That said, she has always had a passion for literacy and is now a librarian.

One of our favorite secular charities is Literacy Advance of Houston.  They do great work in helping improve lives and families.  Check ’em out.

The mission of Literacy Advance of Houston is to teach adults to read, write, and communicate in English so they can achieve their full potential as parents, workers, citizens, and community members.

Here is the story of Lester, who learned to read from the tutors at Literacy Advance.  He read this at a banquet where Barbara Bush spoke as well.

Celebration of Reading

by Lester Benton

Thank you, Mrs. Bush. I am very honored to be here tonight.

I have struggled with my reading since I was in elementary school right here in Houston. I was a pretty good student in math and science, but reading was always a problem for me.

I was labeled a slow learner when I was about 12 years old and put in an alternative school. The chance to learn stopped with that school where all we did was play games.

By the time I convinced my mother to help get me back into regular school, I was two years behind. I was moved along in high school and graduated, and I tried college—but it didn’t work out. All my life I was embarrassed about my reading and writing problems, and I hid them away as best I could.

But these problems affected my life in many ways, from my marriage to my ability to make a good living. I had low paying jobs for most of my life. My family always knew I had a problem and tried to help me. I always asked them for help with spelling and I relied on them to help me understand the meaning of words.  You see, for me, words were just words on paper. I couldn’t grasp the meaning of them when they were strung together.

And then, two things happened that changed my life. My sons, Kevin and Christopher helped me with reading as they were developing their own reading skills.

Two years ago, Christopher, when he was just 8 years old and in the third grade, was helping me with the meaning of some words. He said to me, “Dad, you are old, why can’t you read?”

I realized at that moment that I was going to go somewhere to find someone to help me.

I had always believed that I was smart enough to fix my problem if someone could help me figure it out. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. I googled READING on the computer and began to search for help. And…I found it. I found Literacy Advance of Houston and in a very short time, after putting aside the embarrassment about my reading and writing, I was working with my first volunteer tutor.

Lucky for me, he was a Frenchman. He would say to me “you have to fall in love with the story”. One day, he had me read a section in a book and then write down what it meant to me. I read and I wrote—crossed it out, wrote it again and crossed it out. This continued until I finally wrote something that really made sense to me.

I realized I had just written the first paragraph I could remember. Tears came to my eyes, and I could not stop crying.

My second tutor, Pat McCracken, who is here tonight, has helped me make more progress in my reading skills. I finished reading my first book, “The Things They Carried” a wonderful book about soldiers in the Vietnam War by Tim O’Brien. I learned what it is like to “fall in love with a story”.

After all the years of struggling, my life has changed. I am taking courses at Houston Community College. I will get my degree, one course at a time. I have the best job I have ever had at Walgreens Distribution Center. I have been able to grow in my job because of my new skills and the confidence I have in myself.

Over the years, my wife and I encouraged our children to learn to read and to do the best they can in everything they do. My Children are here tonight — my sons, Kevin and Christopher, and one of our daughters, Jessica. Our other daughter, Elsa, who is studying to be a CPA, lives in Washington, DC. When Jessica was in high school her teachers called us in to tell us she was an exceptional student—I was afraid that meant she was in trouble. Jessica earned her degree in Chemical Engineering from RPI, and in June, she will receive her MBA from Stanford.

I hope you will allow me, the Proud Father, to ask my family to stand so I can introduce them to you.

In our City, there are thousands of people like me who have serious problems with reading and writing. I hope my experience will teach my children and others that it is never too late to learn and that you should never, ever give up.

I no longer feel the shame as I am able to read and write. I continue to push myself, and I know I can overcome any problem standing in my way.

I want to thank everyone at Literacy Advance for changing my life.

And I want to thank Barbara Bush and all of you here tonight who support the essential cause of Literacy.

Thank you very much.

Big Roundup

steelersGo Steelers!  They are back in the Super Bowl, which means that the universe has temporarily regained alignment.  They are an amazingly successful small market franchise.

Here’s a video of the Immaculate Reception, aka the Best. Play. Ever.  I was in 4th grade and my relatives from Pittsburgh were visiting.  They turned the game on in time to see that play.  Watching it again reminds me of how well Bradshaw scrambled around to keep it alive. 

I was hooked on the Steelers after that.  They’ve always been my favorite team, but I’m in a start-watching-when-they-get-deep-in-the-playoffs mode now.  I don’t have time to follow them too closely. 

I’ll be rooting for them heavily but I do like Kurt Warner as well.  Should be a fun game.

Great farewell message from President Bush

I didn’t watch any of the inauguration, but kudos to Rick Warren for his prayer.

Obama really cares about you, provided that you are an elite donor

Surprisingly no PETA, Global Warming, nor Code Pink protesters are seen as the Elite Obama Donors arrive in chauffeur driven stretch limousines dressed in their finest furs.

From the “What have we become?” category: Virginia Court Rules 6-Year-Old Daughter of Christian Woman Must Visit Lesbian: Threatens Use of Force If Necessary.  And this is without them ever being legally married.  But oxymoronic “same sex marriage” won’t have any impact on us, will it?

CNN has an article about Sam Adams, the Portland mayor involved in a sex scandal.  They were apparently too busy worshiping Obama to determine the political party of the mayor, as that was nowhere to be found in the article.  Surprisingly enough, he ‘s a Democrat!  Go figure.  But they wouldn’t have mentioned his party affiliation if he was Republican, either . . . right?  UPDATE: Sometime in the last 12 hours CNN added his party affiliation.  Maybe I have better sources than they do, because I figured it out right away.

The mayor was 42 when he met a 17 yr. old legislative intern.  He first claimed they never had sex and lashed out at his accusers.  Now he is admitting that they had sex, but insists that it was only after the intern turned 18.  And you can definitely trust him on that.  Seems to me that the age difference is rather creepy, but then again you can find a false pastor who insists that any technically legal relationship should never be newsworthy (oddly, he didn’t make note of the political party, either).   He even noted this:

Adams now claims that had he first come clean and admitted that he had had an affair with an 18 year old that as a gay man he wouldn’t have been believed because of old and false stereotypes about gay men preying on young boys. 

Uh, yeah, “old and false.”  Hard to believe those urban legends are still around when you have 42 year old men scoping out 17 year old boys and people lining up to rationalize it away on liberal blogs.  And no, I’m not saying all gays are pedophiles.  I’m just pointing out the multiple inanities of the media, liberals and false teachers. 

Gotta love Zo.  I like his line about the 2nd Amendment being the “In case of emergency break glass tool in case the 1st Amendment stops working on our government.”